One essential legal document for Georgia residents who are developing an estate plan is a living will. A living will can be enforced while an individual is still alive. Individuals can use it to detail their preferences regarding any medical treatment they should receive should they become incapacitated. They can specify what type of medical treatments should and should not be used to keep them alive. Individuals can also detail how long life support measures should be used.
The benefit of having a living will in place is that it can eliminate loved ones from having to make a decision about whether an incapacitated loved one's life should be continued. With a living will that explicitly states the wishes of an individual, it can prevent conflicts between family members who may have different opinions about using life support.
Another important legal document to include in an estate plan is a power of attorney. A power of attorney is also useful for situations in which individuals become incapacitated. The document will give a trusted person or representative the authority to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person. The designated person individuals can choose could be anyone they trust to act in their best interests.
A power of attorney has to be completed before it is actually needed. In cases in which individuals become unable to make their own decisions without a power of attorney in place, it will be necessary for their loved ones to involve the court in order to get the authority to make those decisions.
An estate planning attorney may advise clients about which legal documents should be included in an estate plan to protect their assets and interests. The attorney might assist with drafting wills and powers of attorney in accordance with a client's wishes.